Community Briefs: Gratz Moves Jewish High School Online and More

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Author Publishes Memoir About Overeating

Ronni Robinson | Courtesy of
Ronni Robinson

Philadelphia-area author Ronni Robinson published a memoir that details 30 years of compulsive overeating, as well as 12 years of recovery

“Out of the Pantry: A Disordered Eating Journey” was released on Aug. 6 on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. It also was released on barnesandnoble.com in paperback and on Nook.


Robinson is a writer and indoor cycling instructor, who also does public speaking about eating disorders as well as emotionally abusive relationships.

In the book, she details how her mother first hid cookies when she was 10, prompting years of secret binging that didn’t stop until recovery began at the age of 40.

KI to Broadcast High Holidays Services on Radio

After an absence of a few years, Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park will resume airing its High Holidays services over WWDB 860 AM.

Executive Director Brian Rissinger said KI has broadcast services for more than 90 years, but discontinued doing so with the advent of streaming. But subsequent experiences – especially when the synagogue began streaming services during the pandemic – showed that not everyone was being served.

“We realize that some people don’t have access to a computer or cell phone,” he said. “The radio provides a link to be part of the community for the High
Holy Days.”

Erev Rosh Hashanah services will air on Sept. 18 from 5:30-7 p.m. with Rosh Hashanah services the next day from 10 a.m. to noon.

Kol Nidre services are set for Sept. 27 from 5:30-7 p.m., with Yom Kippur services the next day from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by Yizkor and Ne’illah services from 4-5 p.m.

Gratz Moves Jewish High School Online

Gratz College announced that its formerly in-person Jewish Community High School will relaunch Sept. 13 as a fully online entity called Gratz Academy.

The Melrose Park-based school said it will be able to attract eighth through 12th grade students from across North America in real-time courses in Jewish studies, Hebrew and Yiddish. Ten courses will be available.

Gratz Academy students also will have the opportunity to earn college credit and certificates.

“Gratz already has a strong online presence,” academy Director Dina Maiben said. “By transitioning the high school program online, we can broaden our base and make this instruction available to everyone.”

JCHS was established in the 1960s and, in recent years, began offering some online courses, Maiben said.

“In the fall of 2019, we offered a Zoom-based Jewish studies class that met once per week for one hour,” Maiben said. “Students then had asynchronous follow-up assignments. Based on the success of that class, we decided to move everything online for fall 2020.”

Gratz Academy courses will be offered Sunday mornings and evenings, and some weekday evenings. Each class typically lasts about three hours per week.

The academy is funded in part by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

For more information or to register, contact Maiben at [email protected] or 215-635-7300, ext. 162.

Local Jewish Genealogical Society Honored

The newsletter of the Jewish Genealogical and Archival Society of Philadelphia was honored at a virtual genealogical conference.

The organization’s publication Chronicles received the 2020 Outstanding Publishing Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies at its 40th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy on Aug. 12.

Chronicles is published quarterly and its content is primarily original, with members sharing their stories, and describing their research and findings.

The editor of Chronicles is Evan Fishman of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and its graphics editor is Edward Flax of West Windsor, New Jersey.

— Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

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